Opioids Prescription Linked To Appointment Timing: Study

by Paromita Datta last updated -

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Doctors are more likely to prescribe opioids as their workday progresses. In a cross-sectional study, published in JAMA Network, researchers found that doctors were more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day, particularly when behind schedule. Although the difference was modest, the same pattern was not observed for nonopioid pain treatment.

Time pressure is the most commonly cited reason for the growing opioid crisis in America. The study explored the association between an overworked schedule and clinical decision making. It was based on data collected from the electronic health record systems of primary healthcare offices in the US. 

The focus was on patients who had not received any opioid medication for the preceding year. The researchers took into account two critical factors in the timing of the appointments: the time of the day and any delays from the scheduled time. The likelihood of an opioid prescription increased by 33 percent for appointments later in the day and by 17 percent for those running behind schedule. The same pattern was not observed when prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or physical therapy. 

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About the Author

Paromita Datta covers the latest health and wellness trends for Organic Facts. An ex-journalist who specialized in health and entertainment news, Paromita was responsible for managing a health supplement for The New Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. She has completed her post-graduation in Business Administration from the University of Rajasthan and her diploma in journalism from YMCA, Delhi. She is currently pursuing an e-course, Introduction to Food and Health, from Standford University, US.

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